Thursday, October 29, 2009

BPS Internet Safety Campaign Presents at MassCue Conference

On Wednesday, October 28, Eric Esteves and Joe Kidd presented a session about the BPS Cyber Safety Campaign at the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators Conference. The Conference took place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro and drew teachers, principals and tech directors from districts all across the state. During the session Eric and Joe shared information with other educators on what the Boston Public Schools is doing to educate the community about internet safety. They spoke about how the campaign was started, how TST's in the system became iSAFE certified and were asked to do internet safety activities in their schools. They also spoke about the very important partnerships that have been created between the BPS and other outside agencies over the past few years. These partnerships include Microsoft, Bunker Hill Community College, the Boston Police Department, the Boston District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office and the Mayor's Office. It would be impossible to put on this campaign without their help and support. Joe shared what the Office of Instructional and Information Technology's outreach to schools has been during the campaign. He gave a sample of the different types of presentations and workshops OIIT has done for elementary, middle and high schools as well as community centers and parent groups.

A lot of the educators in the session were already performing internet safety related activities within their schools, but wanted to know how they could take it further, especially with high school age students. Eric did a great job sharing with the group how he engages BPS high school students through the Cyber Safety Mentor Program. He also explained how the summer intern program draws on students' creative design talents and presentation skills. All of the student interns receive internet safety and presentation skills training. They then develop internet safety lessons that they bring out to educate the community. Last summer, they gave over 90 cyber safety presentations to over 5,000 children! The students also created new cyber safety materials that are available for download from the BPS cyber safety website. During the presentation at MassCue, Eric shared those materials with the teachers who were in attendance. They left the session with posters, buttons, bookmarks and the BPS cyber safety comic book. Below is a presentation of the materials that were shared with the participants during the MassCue conference.

Friday, October 16, 2009

President Obama on CyberSecurity

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama released a video about Cyber Security Awareness Month. In the video, the president stresses the importance of keeping our computer networks safe. President Obama also states that he has created a new white house cyber security office which will be led by a cyber security coordinator he will appoint in the future.

During cybersecurity month, some websites are stepping up their efforts to provide quality cybersafety materials. Stay Safe Online has an entire section of their site dedicated to October being cyber security awareness month. They have links to resources, ideas on how to educate your students and schedules of cybersafety events across the country. Google is also celebrating cyber security awareness month. They have recently created the Google Cyber Security Awareness Channel on YouTube with videos dedicated to internet safety. They have also written various blog posts with cyber safety tips including choosing a smart password. Also, be sure to check out the Boston Public School's cyber safety website and resources!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

$22,500 per Song

If you have some students that think there are no consequences to sharing copyrighted music through peer to peer networks, have them read this article. Over the summer, a Boston University graduate student by the name of Joel Tenenbaum was ordered to pay a total of $675,000 in damages for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online. Now, this is only the second lawsuit of this nature to go to trial, but many students have had to pay thousands of dollars in settlements to record companies in the past. It is important for students to understand that there can be consequences to illegally sharing copyrighted material online. The defendant in the case actually admitted to the charge while on the stand, but his defense is that he had the right to download and share songs under the fair use doctrine of copyright law. His lawyer, Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, was never allowed to argue this position in the original lawsuit and is hoping to in an appeal. This is a very high profile case that could have long lasting effects on how copyright law is enforced on the internet.